Supported by Eurojust, authorities in Germany and Luxembourg have carried out a coordinated action against the use of illegal emission devices in cars produced by two South Korean companies. During an action day, eight searches were carried out and communication data, software and planning documents were seized.
Today’s coordinated action follows the General Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt am Main’s investigation of suspected fraud and air pollution, as well as the aiding and abetting of those responsible for the automobile companies and automotive supplier group.
By 2020, the manufacturing companies had brought onto the market more than 210 000 diesel vehicles, which were allegedly equipped with illegal emission tools – so-called ‘defeat devices’. These devices were responsible for interfering with or disabling exhaust gas cleaning mechanisms, causing the vehicles to emit significantly more nitrogen oxides while in operation than legally permitted.
Customers who bought the vehicles were deceived, having not been informed that the vehicles failed to meet the emissions requirements. All car models with 1.1 l, 1.4 l, 1.6 l, 1.7 l, 2.0 l and 2.2 l diesel engines were affected.
In an action day coordinated by Eurojust on 28 June, business premises in eight properties across Germany and Luxembourg were searched. The searches were carried out by approximately 180 investigators from the Hessian Police and the General Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt am Main, and 14 members of the Service de Police Judiciaire, Section Entraide Judiciaire Internationale and Section Nouvelles Technologies, in Luxembourg.
One focus of the measures was in the Rhine-Main area. Various pieces of evidence, including communication data, software and planning documents, have been seized.
The German authorities initiated the investigation in June 2019, and the case was opened at Eurojust in 2022. Eurojust enabled the cooperation of the various authorities involved during the action day.
The following authorities took part in the operations:
Germany: General Public Prosecutor’s Office Frankfurt am Main, Hesse State Police
Luxembourg: Service de Police Judiciaire, Section Entraide Judiciaire Internationale and Section Nouvelles Technologies